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Full text of "Attitudes"

UC-NRLF 




15fl 



o 



PUBLISHER S NOTE. 

THE Yale Series of Younger Poets is designed to afford a publishing 
medium for the work of young men and women who have not yet 
secured a wide public recognition. It will include only such verse as 
seems to give the fairest promise for the future of American poetry , 
to the development of which it is hoped that the Series may prove a 
stimulus. Communications concerning manuscripts should be addressed 
to the Editor, Professor Charlton M. Lewis, 425 St. Ronan Street, 
New Haven, Connecticut. 

VOLUMES ISSUED, OR PLANNED FOR 
EARLY PUBLICATION 

I. THE TEMPERING. By Howard Buck. 
II. FORGOTTEN SHRINES. By John Chipman Farrar. 

III. FOUR GARDENS. By David Osborne Hamilton. 

IV. SPIRES AND POPLARS. By Alfred Raymond Bellinger. 

V. THE WHITE GOD AND OTHER POEMS. By Thomas Caldecot 

Chubb. 

VI. WHERE LILITH DANCES. By Darl Macleod Boyle. 
VII. WILD GEESE. By Theodore H. Banks, Jr. 
VIII. HORIZONS. By Viola C. White. 
IX. WAMPUM AND OLD GOLD. By Hervey Allen. 
X. THE GOLDEN DARKNESS. By Oscar Williams. 
XL WHITE APRIL. By Harold Vinal. 
XII. DREAMS AND A SWORD. By Medora C. Addison. 

XIII. HIDDEN WATERS. By Bernard Raymund. 

XIV. ATTITUDES. By Paul Tanaquil. 






Attitudes 



PAUL TANAQUIL 




NEW HAVEN YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS 

LONDON HUMPHREY MILFORD OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS 

MDCCCCXXII 



COPYRIGHT, 1922, BY 
YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS 



ACKNOWLEDGMENT. 

FOR gracious permission to reproduce in this collection certain 
pieces which first appeared in their magazines, the author 
is grateful to the editors and publishers of the following 
periodicals: Poetry -, A Magazine of Verse; Contemporary 
Verse; Voices; Tempo; The Lyric; The Lyric West; The 
American Poetry Magazine; The Wave; Pearson s; The 
Forum; Vogue; The Smart Set; Munsey s; Shadowland; 
Snappy Stories; Live Stories; The Motion Picture Classic; 
Telling Tales; The Occident; The Haverfordian; The Colle 
giate World; and The Berkeley Times. 



2 9. *J3 6 



CONTENTS. 

THE BURDEN OF BEAUTY : 

Dedication . . . . 13 

Passee ... . 14 

A Very Young Man Speaks . . . . 14 

Moment . . . 15 

A Very Young Girl s Song . . . . 15 

Riddle . 16 

Tease . . . 16 

History . ... . . . l? 

Wisdom i? 

A Girl Sings . . . , . . . . 18 

Dolorides Luna . . . 18 

Pour Elle . . . ... . . 19 

Against Her Wrath . . .. . . 19 

Wranglers . ... . . . 20 

Bittersweet . . . .... 20 

Worship . . . . . . 20 

Two Men . . . . / .-. . 21 

Voices . . 21 

Reawakening . . . - 22 

After 22 

Well, Then . / . . ... 23 

Release . . . . . . . 23 

Episode 24 

Ultima Verba Plena Sapientiae ... 24 

After Many Days ...... 25 

Parting . . . . . . 25 

The Poet ....... 25 

Interlude ....... 26 

For Remembrance ...... 26 

Serene ........ 27 

Semper Eadem .... . . 27 

Passive . . . . . . . 28 

Priere du Soir . - ... . 28 

Confessional . . . . . 29 
Passage ... . . . . .29 

Finale . . . . . . . . 29 

Mirage . . . . . . . 3 

7 



THE CAPTIVE YEARS : 

Autobiographical ...... 33 

Moonlight Vistas ...... 34 

Friends ....... 34 

Nous N Irons Plus Au Bois . . 35 

Primavera ....... 35 

The Lyric ....... 36 

Difference ....... 36 

Denouement ....... 37 

Arabesque ....... 37 

Captive ....... 37 

Moondown ....... 38 

When Two or Three Are Gathered Together . 38 

At the Death of the Playboy .... 39 

History . . . . . . -39 

Chose Vue ....... 40 

Stranger ....... 40 

Words ........ 40 

Values ........ 41 

Trees ........ 41 

Sheep ........ 42 

A Mi-Voix ....... 42 

In Bonos Magistros Scribit Poeta 43 

The Pedant 43 

Masefield ....... 44 

Warning ....... 44 

Verba . . . Verbera ..... 45 

Fulfillment ....... 45 

A SHEAF OF SONNETS : 

Sonnetteers ....... 48 

To Beauty ....... 48 

Reverie d Automne ...... 49 

Les Cygnes ....... 49 

Sea-Death ....... 50 

The Actor ....... 50 

The Violinist . . . . . . 51 

Revanche ....... 52 

Actors ........ ^2 

Double ........ 53 

8 



Felo de Se 53 

La Donna ....... 54 

Inchoate ....... 54 

A Voix-Basse 55 

Analysis . . ..... 55 

The Girl . . . . . . .56 

The Return of the Prodigal . . . . 56 

Seeking and Finding Not . . . . . 57 

At Her Grave -57 

Apologia pro Moribus Suis .... 58 
Lincoln . . . . . . . 59 



THE BURDEN OF BEAUTY. 



DEDICATION. 

To One whose name I may not tell. 

HERE are my songs, 
Such as I make them ; 
Each one belongs 
Unto you: take them. 

I shall never utter 
One name : your name, 
But let my rhymes flutter 
On wings of flame, 

Till they come to rest 
In a calm, strange place, 
White as your breast, 
Fair as your face. 



PASSE 



A 



MILLION lovers plight their troth, 
Calling on her to bless their oath. 



She does not shine more bright because 
They will be faithful to her laws; 

She does not hang her head and weep 
For brave-made vows they will not keep; 

She looks, as ever, austere and cold 
I think the moon is growing old. 



A VERY YOUNG MAN SPEAKS . . . 

THE stars are old and wise. Tonight they look 
With such cold pity at us that I know 
They see a million lovers that forsook 
Vows by their light, made centuries ago ; 
Yet by the still and skeptic stars above 
I swear I will be faithful in my love. 



MOMENT. 

You smiled a little, shyly, 
Then suddenly bowed your head ; 
And all the air was heavy 
With things unsaid. 

The moment held such magic 
That, had I said one word, 
Gently, you would have answered 
The plea you heard. 

But I was silent, thinking 

How frail our moods can be ; 

And you, yourself once more, were putting 

Sugar in my tea ! 



A VERY YOUNG GIRL S SONG. 

E~TLE she cares for rare gems, 
For gold or silver, little s her care ; 
Sunlight and moonlight gild her hair 
With changing glitter of diadems. 

Little she cares for fine homes, 
For stone mansion, little s her care ; 
God s sky is even-where 
And over the moor her lover roams. 

Little she cares who mans ships, 
For brave soldier, little s her care; 
Last night her lover kissed her hair, 
Tonight her lover will kiss her lips. 



RIDDLE. 

SINCE nothing matters very much, 
Why need we dissemble? 
Since nothing matters very much, 
Tell me why I tremble 
At the mere chance touch 
Of your white, cool hand ? 

Since nothing matters very much, 
I do not understand. . 



TEASE. 

A r D if I were to tell you, 
Pray, what would be your gain? 
Conceit with being victor 
And consequent disdain? 

Suppose I do not tell you, 
Then sorrow is your share : 
Rue, for being vanquished ; 
Anger and despair. 

Maybe I love you a little, 

Or, possibly, too well ; 

Maybe I do not love you at all 

Who can tell ? 



16 



HISTORY. 

BECAUSE a woman s lips were red, 
Because a woman s breast was white, 

One man went forth into the fight 
Following where the battle led, 
And, girded with resistless might, 
He won a kingdom for his right. 

Because a woman s lips were red, 
Because a woman s breast was white, 

One man went forth, his soul alight 
With the radiance her beauty shed, 
And wandering silent through the night 
Dreamed of a song for her delight. 

The kingdom now is dust, thereof 
Nothing remains but desert sand ; 
The song through many a foreign land 
In many a tongue proclaims its love 

How once a woman s lips were red, 
How once a woman s breast was white. 



WISDOM. 

SHE came with laughter in her eyes 
And called to me to follow her ; 
But Time had made my ardor wise, 
I did not stir. 

She came again with wistfulness 
Deep in the shadows of her eyes, 
And wisdom was but wantonness 
And tricks . . . and lies! 

17 



A GIRL SINGS. 

GRIEF is gentle as warm rain 
Falling on the April fields ; 
I will bear my meed of pain 
For the wonder loving yields. 

I will bear my meed of pain ; 
Love has made my spirit proud ; 
Whilst I sew, shall I complain 
If my veil become a shroud*? 



DOLORIDES LUNA. 

I WONDER what she knows to keep 
Her laughing through the years ; 
Her understanding must be deep 
To guard her soul from fears ; 
And yet, I think, by day her sleep 
Is miserable with tears. 



18 



POUR ELLE. 

THERE are things of Beauty of which I never shall tire: 
Moving seas and sea foam ; and the blue 
Sky above the tall church spire ; 
And the blue smoke 
That rises from a hidden fire 
Deep down in the valley ; flowers ; dew 
Over the green grasses ; moonlight dripping through 
Sieves of silver foliage, delicately intricate as lace ; 
Mighty hills arising ever higher ; 
Long, sloping roofs and clean white houses under ; 
April rain ; flash of lightning ; crash of thunder ; 
Children laughing ; the trill of meadowlarks ; and the lithe 

grace 

Of horses at a canter ; more and more all true, 
Noble and good and beautiful to view. 

But best of all, the wonder, 

The poignancy of you 

As changing shadows creep across your face. . . . 



AGAINST HER WRATH. 

I DO not fear your righteous wrath 
One half so much as I would care 
If you walked down the garden path 
With sunlight gleaming on your hair. 



WRANGLERS. 

WHEN you are here we quarrel, 
Once you are gone I weep, 
In sheer despair I tear my hair 
And cry myself to sleep. 

There s too much ardor in me 
And nonchalance in you ; 
Why cannot we act sensibly 
As other people do*? 



BITTERSWEET. 

SLOWLY to seaward the stately ships, 
White sails agleam against the spars, 
The poignant wonder of your lips, 
And the stars ! 

Far away to the fragrant south 
Somewhere a beacon flashes ; 
Bitter my eyes with tears, my mouth 
Filled with ashes. 



WORSHIP. 

You cannot know what wonder I will pour on your name, 
I will raise it as a flame with the wind blowing under, 
I will cast myself asunder, to my blame, to my shame, 
I will shout it loud as thunder with all heaven for a frame, 
I will make a living wonder of your fame. 



20 



TWO MEN. 

WHEN the red wine flows freely and the glasses clink, 
When Happiness winks up at you from their broad 

brim, 

Amid the riot of music and the sheen of light, 
Your arm in his you link 
And your desire and your delight 
Are all for him. 

But when grey dawn steals in to find you weary . . . weary . . . 

And there is only tinsel where brave gold should be, 

When in its harsh sterility the fog-bound city 

Looms, desolate and dreary, 

Your tender loneliness, your wistful, childlike pity 

Are all for me. 



VOICES. 

VOICES . . . voices . . . following endlessly, 
So many beautiful voices that will not let me be : 
A lark s sudden trill of joy and the deep cry of a crane 
With its harsh, hoarse burden, poignant as pain; 
Children s light voices, echoed in frolicsome laughter ; 
Bold, rough voices of men that ring to the highest rafter; 
Voices, beautiful voices. . . . 

. . . And after 

A tremulous shy whisper, beyond sorrow or mirth, 
A still voice of calm peace like the gentle April earth, 
And bright as the June sky with its blue arch above you, 
The voice I love of all voices, whispering. . . . 



21 



REAWAKENING. 

IN the lost moment of a foolish hour 
I said : My love is fairer than a flower ! 

A flower lifts a shining face to God, 
Your eyes are set on the small path you ve trod ; 
A flower brings wonder to a world of pain, 
You drag me from my dreams to dross again 

Pity the fool in an unguarded hour 
Who sees a woman fairer than a flower ! 



AFTER. 

I REMEMBER words you said 
Half in tears and half in laughter, 
How you vowed on your own head 
You would love me ever after. 

I remember dreams that slept 
Till I wakened them for me ; 
I remember how you wept 
Glad, for Love s idolatry. 

Strange it is and full of pain 
To consider how our tears 
Vanished with the April rain 
In the limbo of the years. . . . 



22 



WELL, THEN. . . . 

L:T Columbine be beautiful 
As she alone can be, 
She will not bring him joy so full 
As that she brought to me ; 
My laughter was her music and 
Her kisses were my wine, 
No other man can understand 
The soul of Columbine. 

So let him taste her hungry mouth 

Lifted in fierce appeal, 

Her lips as flame against his drouth 

How shall he ever feel 

Such wonder as was mine to know 

When Love strode free of Pain 

Her breasts twin pillows of white snow, 

Her kisses April rain*? 



RELEASE. 

I SHALL forget the sorrow 
You brought for love s return ; 
Today or else tomorrow 
I shall no longer yearn. 

The troubling wonder of you 
I never shall regret ; 
Life, teaching me to love you, 
May teach me to forget. 

And should your name be spoken 
By such as knows us not, 
My laughter shall be token 
How well I have forgot. 



EPISODE. 

SHE never deemed her love a sin, 
She seemed only to know 
That all the world spelled Harlequin 
And she must die or go ! 

But when young Pierrot hanged himself, 
(Men said he wearied of the earth) 
His picture on her mantel-shelf 
Assumed an actual worth. 

And ever she played the tragic queen 
No matter where she went; 
Ignoring that his death had been 
A drunkard s accident. 



ULTIMA VERBA PLENA SAPIENTIAE. 

WHAT words need be said 4 ? 
As though words mattered, as though anything mattered 
Now you are dead. 

Shall I grieve then <? shall I chide *? 

As though chiding mattered, as though anything mattered 

Even before you died. 



24 



AFTER MANY DAYS. 

You were the singer, I, 
I, the refrain ; 
You were the shadowy sky, 
I was the April rain; 
You were the moon above, 
I the sea where it shone 
You who taught me to love 
Teach me to stand alone ! 



PARTING. 

His shadowy days are over, 
He will come ... no ... more, 
The bee has left the clover, 
His shadowy days are over ; 
For the last time your rover 
Has touched a foreign shore; 
His shadowy days are over, 
He will come ... no ... more ! 



THE POET. 

I^M not rueful 
For these vain hopes of mine 
And all their loss 
How proudly beautiful 
All white they shine, 
Nailed to the cross. 



INTERLUDE. 

You need not bare your shoulder, 
Nor loose your golden hair 
My heart grows colder . . . colder . 
I cannot care. 

It s bright your proud eye flashes, 
And, spurned, you know not shame ! 
(You cannot kindle ashes 
To a white flame !) 

What profit to grow bolder 1 ? 
Leave me and never care: 
I shall not kiss your shoulder 
Nor loose your hair. . . . 



FOR REMEMBRANCE. 

WHEN you are old and venerable and grey, 
And your fair cheek s sere as an autumn leaf, 
When far beyond the toils of joy and grief 
The playground of your heart is yesterday 
When Time has made the memory dim 
In some mazed twilight interim: 

Oh, will you think how many wove their woof 

Of word and deed about your life-thread, made 

Their bitter grievances to mar, to soil 

Its perfect beauty ; how the obscure shade 

Of silence shrouded one who stood aloof 

Lest with his blundering finger he might spoil? 



26 



SERENE. 

THERE was a woman once whose voice was music 
Coursing through my young veins like poisoned wine, 
But I have forgotten her, I have forgotten her, 
Wisdom is mine. 

There was a woman once had hands like lilies, 
Yet if she stretched them beckoning me to her, 
(I have found wisdom, I have found wisdom!) 
I would not stir. 

There was a woman once with eyes like starlight, 
They told me she was dead of her despair 
But I have found happiness, I have found happiness ! 
I do not care. 



SEMPER EADEM. 

CHEEKS that are sunk and ashen, 
Eyes that weep in vain, 
Always the same passion 
In the same senseless fashion 
And the same pain, 
Forever beginning again. . . . 



PASSIVE. 

T AUGH softly, lest you stir 

JL/ Old dreams of mine 

(The memory of her 

Is poisoned wine!) 

Nor let me lay my throbbing head 
At rest upon your curious knees, 
Lest I forget that she is dead 
And resurrect old ecstasies. 

Dance gently do not lure me on, 
Such triumph ends in tears 
I would remember she is gone, 
These many years. . . . 



PRIRE DU SOIR. 

You who are strong in reason 
And fearless for very pride, 
Teach me to bare for a season 
The sorrowful dream I hide. 

Teach me that Life has a guerdon 
Meet for the brave to seize, 
Help me unshoulder the burden 
Of ancient memories. 

Gold stars make riot above me 
But my heart refuses to hear 
You who pretend you love me, 
Teach me to laugh at fear ! 



28 



CONFESSIONAL. 

THIS is not Love. Nay, though my fingers press 
Your fingers apart to grasp your white hand s flower, 
For all I have sworn I love you and you only, 
It is because our lives are empty . . . lonely . . . 
Our solitudes are met in one small hour: 
What we call Love is born of idleness. 



PASSAGE. 

SHE brought a glimmer of light 
To break our gloom, 
But so cold, impassive 

She was a candle 
In a dead room ! 



FINALE. 

VERY soon 
The thread 
Will be broken- 
No word more 
Will be spoken 
Very soon 
What we said 
Will not matter 
Very soon . . . 

Very soon 

I shall be dead! 



29 



MIRAGE. 

Am all of it is laughter 
That moves us an hour 
And vanishes after, 
Or tears . . . tears . . . 
Deep without power 
Over the years. 



THE CAPTIVE YEARS. 



AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL. 

WHAT are you doing in Berkeley*? I laughed and shook 
my head : 
I am doing the same as ever I did anywhere, I said. 

There were Sussex downs and rain-drenched gorse and sun 
light on the heather, 

There was Devonshire and a galloping horse, a frenzied pack 
on a break-neck course 

In crisp hunting weather. 

There were Paris days with ingenious ways of youthful deca 
dence, 

And a Pennsylvania campus and studious pretence, 

There were brown files in Flanders mud and good friends 
slain, 

Friends in pain and pleasure as never friends again ! 

And now I am in Berkeley ! Rueful I shake my head : 
It s exactly the same as ever it was for all words said, 
The same as ever anywhere in spite of Flanders dead. 

There s something I go seeking, I throw my life away 
In striving to be at one with them, to be both grave and gay, 
To share their pain and pleasure, to know what doubts they 
weigh. 

Ere ever I break away from me my old faults win, 
Something I cannot fathom, secret as a sin, 
Keeps me apart from all their heart till Hope grows spectre- 
thin, 

And ends as baffled hope must, in reasonless disgust ; 
Vain as kisses from one blind, bitter to taste as dust, 
And I eat my heart out as acid eats rust. 

What are you doing in Berkeley? Laughing, I shook my 

head 

I am doing the same as ever I did anywhere, I said, 
The old dreams ... the old loss . . . stones for bread ! 

(For Leonard Bacon.) 

33 



MOONLIGHT VISTAS. 

A:ROSS the wall 
Of my bare room 
The moving jets 
Of moonlight fall, 
Etching strange figures 
That recall 
The madcap march 
Of marionettes 
From carnival 
To tomb. 



FRIENDS. 

THIS blundering, kindly gesture 
That moves you to sudden mirth 
Is tragic and final as only 
Things dying at birth. 

I would make of my heart a measure 
To span the gulf of your heart, 
But ere my hands reach you, coldly 
You are drawing apart. 

I have tried to find you, but always 
I have been shy and slow 
What manner of man you really are 
I never shall know. 



34 



NOUS N IRONS PLUS AU BOIS. 

THE woods tonight are magical with silence 
After the music that the wild winds made ; 
As a shy votary before an altar 
The moon holds up a candle to the glade. 

Great clouds like incense smoke arise before it, 
And, of a sudden, all is dark once more ; 
Earth broods regretfully to have forgotten 
The smiling face, a moment gone, she wore. 

A hundred things that I would not remember 
Rise up to haunt me in this solitude, 
My heart is bitter-sweet as woody nightshade; 
I shall not go again into the wood. 

(For Harold Final.) 



PRIMAVERA. 

FAINT echoes of autumnal tears 
Linger in the April rain, 
As though Earth, sober for her years, 
Could not be wholly glad again, 

And, with leaves dripping, yonder oak 
Bows down against the shadowy sky, 
Like some sad Argus whose heart broke, 
Weeping, nor ever knowing why. 



THE LYRIC. 

You take a little round stone, you smooth it, 
You polish its surface and carve your name 
With the deft firm hand of a craftsman who loves 
To bring sheer beauty to merely a game. 

It glints like moonlight on throbbing waters, 
It fits in its frame like a gem in a ring, 
You finish it, lay it beside its fellows 
Deep in the folds of your cunning sling. 

Some day you use it: your shot goes flying 
In charming curve with the heavens for mark 
The silence is broken by poignant music, 
A sudden radiance breaks through the dark ! 

(For Charles Mills Gayley.) 



DIFFERENCE. 

FOR you the lure of April is the glory 
Of conquering love that daunts the brightest stars ; 
April for me is but a tragic story 
Of ancient enmities and battle scars. 

Autumn brings you the pleasant melancholy 
Of lovely things remembered gratefully, 
But I find in it memories of folly, 
And haunting grief that will not let me be. 

So, whilst you pass your days in light and music, 
Considering Pain but an old Turk to beard, 
My heart stores the sad harvest of its rue, sick 
For things desired too much and too much feared. 



DENOUEMENT. 

A FADING dart of crimson and the sun has set ; 
On the listless face of the waters, a solitary ship s light 

gleams, 

The waves monotonous break is low as a dirge and dreary. 
I have not shed a glimmer of light in my life and yet 
My hope is dead, my desire spent, and ended my dreams, 
Even my heartache is healed : I am hopelessly weary. 



ARABESQUE. 

GENTLY Night folds her bluish veil 
Over the weary limbs of Earth, 
The lambent waters plash unheard, 
Mirroring the moon s lank face ; 
Far to the westward a crooked sail 
Bellies as one with senile mirth, 
And the lone cry of a stray bird 
Is as a damned man s prayer for grace. 

(For A.G.H. Spiers.) 



CAPTIVE. 

HE that hath lost his soul though he conquer a world 
Shall not be made whole when the last flag is furled. 
The silver goblet in his hand shall be as ashes ; rust 
Shall eat his bravely gleaming brand to a little, reddish dust, 
And in the moonlight s streams of gold it shall be his to see 
The shining pence for which he sold his mortal mastery. 



37 



MOONDOWN. 

MOONLIGHT . . . and foam of the sea . 
When I shall tire of singing 
Your solemn witchery 
When Beauty shall fail in bringing 
Its poignancy 
Dead may I be ! 



WHEN TWO OR THREE ARE GATHERED 
TOGETHER. . . . 

THERE were five men in that place; 
One, with a sneer, 
Spat in the corpse s face, 
Saying : God is here ! 

One made a proud jest, 

Come unto me all ye 

Who weary, I will give ye rest . . . 

Indeed*? quoth he. 

One laughed : A pretty King 
Worthy of the Jews! 
One : Among three rogues who swing 
There s little to choose! 

One, fearing lest he blunder, 
Silent, stood by; 
Lost in a piteous wonder . . . 
(Was it I?) 



AT THE DEATH OF THE PLAYBOY. 

OBUT it s lonely the Playboy is now, lonely as the moon 
o dawn, 

Cold he is and silent like the deadness o the night ; 
How dark it is about him with the curtain drawn, 
Little s the cheer there is for him in the candlelight. 

He was shy as a poor dumb beast of the fields, and many s 

the time, many s the time 
He looked deep from his deep eyes nor was after speaking a 

word, 
But sometimes he wove a pattern like lace, twisting the threads 

of music and rhyme 
To a song like the Lady Mary was singing when Holy Michael 

heard. 

O but it s lonely the Playboy is, lonely in death and cold 

If Father Reilly s words be messengers of Truth, 

But it s my mind he s sitting in Heaven strumming a harp of 

gold, 
With Christ after hearing the music and Mary a-dreaming on 

her youth. . . . 



HISTORY. 

WE make deep footprints 
In the snow, 
That all may see 
The way we go. 
Nor have we felt 
Our gesture vain, 
Though the snows melt 
Beneath the rain. 

(For F. F. Peabody.) 

39 



CHOSE VUE. 

SUDDENLY 
The leering moon pressed 
Yellow, lecherous fingers 
On the fear-laden 
Breast 
Of the white, throbbing sea 

As in the forest lingers 

A shepherd boy to see 

The satyr and the cringing maiden, 

Possessed. . . . 

So watched I silently. 



STRANGER. 

WHAT simple joys were you denied? 
What hope in you was crucified *? 
That there should shine about your soul 
Wistf ulness, like an aureole *? 



WORDS. 

A,L your words are slaves that stand 
Schooled and governed to obey 
Whatsoever you command, 
Words are deeds beneath your sway. 

Words of mine are foolish things, 
Ineffectual though fair, 
Like a callow girl that sings 
Beautifully of despair ! 

40 



VALUES. 

MY words are wings 
On which I fly, 
My words are winds 
That bear me high. 

Your words are gold 
In weight and worth 
Ah ! how they hold 
You fast to Earth ! 



TREES. 

THE trees tonight are heavy with distress, 
Bowed down in contemplation on Earth s grief, 
And never a wind blowing with wantonness 
Will clasp in his rough grasp a truant leaf 
To brush against their bony nakedness. 

Nothing can be more baleful than gaunt trees, 
Sketched in harsh outline on the drape of Night, 
Like gnarled, scarred hands that have done miseries, 
But now, being powerless and without might, 
Implore the aid of one who never sees. 

Nothing can be more baleful than these are, 
Most tragic penitents whose company 
Renders them only lonelier by far, 
Nothing is sadder than a naked tree 
Against a sky too bleak to hold a star. 



SHEEP. 

You did not know him while he walked among you, 
Bent on your ways you were too full of pride; 
You never listened to the songs he sung you, 
He called you once then never after tried. 

Now he is dead, I wonder which is fitter : 

That you ignored him then or praise him now? 

I wonder which of them he finds more bitter : 

The quick hand spurned or the dead laurelled brow ? 



A MI-VOIX. 

(After the French of A. Hudy.) 

IF a dream you seek 
Should once gleam bright, 
To no man speak 
Of your delight. 

If the swaying bough 
Bring shade to you, 
Let its green brow 
Be all your view. 

Take you Love s rose 
Homeward, but mind you 
Be sure to close 
Your door behind you. . . . 

(For Regis Michaud.) 



42 



IN BONOS MAGISTROS SCRIBIT POET A. 

I AM a vagabond, 
I owe 

Blood and bond 
To Clement Marot 
And to Sir Guy of Trebizond. 

Villon nursed me, 

Rhymes my milk; 

GeofTroi Rudel rehearsed me 

In wearing lyric silk; 

Ah! how schoolmasters cursed me! 

Marlowe spun me lies 
In verse, 

And for a woman s eyes 
I might do worse 
Than poetise. 

We need no roof 
For shelter, 
Who give proof 
Helter-skelter 
Of a cloven-hoof 

(For Dan Murphy.) 



THE PEDANT. 

PELICAN-LIKE he wags his greyish head 
And his raised arms are like the wings of birds; 
He may have dreamed once, but his dream is dead, 
Choked as he grubbed in tomes for roots of words ; 
So whilst through lexicons his fingers roam 
In philologic hunt, he has forgot 
How crimson roses flamed through ancient Rome 
And slender lilies shone in Camelot! 

43 



MASEFIELD. 

His song is a magic 
Stream 

Down from a white peak; 
And as I hear him speak 
He seems like one bewitched in dream 
By his own music. 



WARNING. 

T AST night I dreamed 

1 j Death passed by me; 

Her wild eyes gleamed 

Alluringly, 

I think she seemed 

To beckon me. 

I did not dare 
To rise and go, 
I could but stare 
Frightened ; and so 
She left me there 
And yet I know 

She will return 
Here to my bed, 
And though I yearn 
To stay, instead 
My feet will turn 
The way she led. 



44 



VERBA . . . VERBERA. 

THE words you spoke 
Were delicate . . . elusive, 
So many butterflies 
Flashing in the sunlight 

The words you would not speak 
Were heavy . . . ultimate : 
Stones dropped 
Into still pools. 



FULFILLMENT. 

BECAUSE I have always striven 
To keep my senses pure, 
My sins shall be forgiven 
By the Lord God, I am sure 
And because I have freely given 
Some of my dreams shall endure. 

(For Frederic Le Clercq.) 



A SHEAF OF SONNETS. 






SONNETTEERS. 

THESE men being proud of their deep gift of thought 
Were ever unwilling that their mood find speech 
In facile utterance, within the reach 
Of shallow minds ; with loving care they wrought 
A golden background for their pictures, brought 
A deft hand disciplined by toil to each 
Dream they expressed. And as the masters teach 
They were content to learn. Sometimes one caught 
A note of music or a gleam of light 
Unknown before of man ; sometimes they seemed 
Gladly to follow the appointed way ; 
Beauty they held so rare as to delight 
In polishing her jewels till they gleamed 
Like sudden sunshine on a winter s day. 



TO BEAUTY. 

BEAUTY, be close to me, go by my side 
Constant through life; I need you most of all. 
I will be true to you, and where you call 
I will obey you, Beauty. Oh, abide 
Deep in me ; keep me young ; let my dreams ride 
Like clouds over the earth I fear the thrall 
Of knowledge and satiety, the gall 
Of senses jaded or of joy denied. 

Always remain beside me ; be my friend ; 
Let me discover you with wondering eyes 
In the most simple things : a swaying tree, 
A flower that the gentle breezes bend, 
A lark trilling his joy in the June skies, 
The steadfast hills and the eternal sea. . . . 

(For H. L. Mencken.) 

48 



REVERIE D 5 AUTOMNE. 

THE woods are lyrical with echoings 
Of Summer s music. Soft and far away 
A nightingale, bidding farewell to Day, 
Sings ancient roses and forgotten things. 
The woods are lyrical. About them clings 
Remembered words they heard young lovers say 
In whisperings, while hearts made holiday 
Deeming them all-unheard. The evening flings 
A mauve, gossamer veil over the trees, 
The pale moon crooks her slender, argent finger 
Against the bluish sky; down in the dell, 
Darkness is crouched, as one whose memories 
Bid him lie close to earth awhile and linger 
In thought on secrets that he will not tell. 



LES CYGNES. 

I HAVE watched swans . . . drifting . . . languorously 
Down placid pools and stirring scarce a ripple 
On the smooth surface that shone glassily, 
The tips of their red mouths round as a nipple 
Or, opened wide, as sharp as points that stipple 
Sinuous, rare designs ; ail-dreamily 
Craning their slim necks forward in a triple 
Beauty of movement, line and symmetry. 

I have watched swans with such a curious care 

That all their movements are become for me 

Token of the eternal beautiful : 

A flash of light across a silent pool, 

A thing created but that it might be 

For them that watch a wonder and despair. 






49 



SEA-DEATH. 

WAVES and white foam-froth shall wash over me 
And barren sea-flower float above my head, 
I perish as proud kings have perished, 
Helpless before the power of the sea. 
The wet wind wails my requiem ; I shall see 
Fair women with long tresses, meet to bed 
In Caesar s company; and with these dead 
Soon shall I be as one eternally. 

Rich gems of Tyre, treasures from Ind have lain 
Long in the hold of countless sunken ships, 
The crowns of queens are tarnished with sea-rust ; 
Amid their pageantry I shall foil pain, 
Kiss life into the ashes of dead lips, 
Mingling with some drowned Cleopatra s dust. 

(For Ralph Roeder.) 



THE ACTOR. 

THIRTY long years he had been on the stage, 
Thirty short lines had been his longest part, 
You would have thought that long ago his heart 
Would have grown bitter after such an age 
Of futile toil ; yet in the narrow cage 
He called his room, I heard him walk apart, 
Deep in the richest lore of classic art, 
Evoking Hamlet s doubt, Othello s rage, 
Faustus magic. . . . 

. . . Late into the night 
He lived another life and gladly died 
Three deaths forever consecrate to sorrow ; 
The wonder spent, an hour before the light 
Of Dawn would break, he sat on his hard bed, 
Speaking ere sleep his farce-lines for the morrow. 

50 



THE VIOLINIST. 

THERE is a silence where Life dare not speak 
Lest the heart break. An inarticulate 
Sigh falls from lips weary and satiate 
For things too much desired. 

And yet you seek 

With guileless confidence in mere technique 
Mechanically to disintegrate 
Secrets too dim for light to penetrate ; 
You crucify Love on the lofty peak 
Of the mad bow you handle. 

Ah, let be ! 

For far beyond Thought s realm, an unknown love 
Sways us too beautifully to understand 
Ah, stay your skilful fratricidal hand, 
Lest we should laugh before the failure of 
Your trifling show of virtuosity. 



REVANCHE. 

DREAMER and fool, they call him. Yet, in bygone days, 
Huge hosts were marshalled did his hand but sweep the 

lyre, 

Great empires crumbled when kings heard his lays, 
He loved a woman s face and Troy was set afire. 
They deem him niggard, fouling him with their derision 
Vain oaf who must needs hitch his waggon to a star, 
Columbus, fool of fools with a distorted vision, 
Or an ambitious cheat. 

The great dreams are 
Purchased by heart s blood spilled through nights of bitter 

weeping 

In anguish of the body, in the soul s vexation, 
Till the years pass. Over his bones the worm is creeping 
But that man s folly is the spirit of a nation: 
Live, spirit of the paltry clown the crowds deride, 
Smile as they pray to you, pale Christ they crucified ! 



ACTORS. 

SOME few, perhaps, knew what it meant to hear 
Loud thunders of appreciative applause; 
These men I cannot pity much, because 
When they are old, in memory they appear 
Once more on stages where they were held dear, 
Living old triumphs over : this one thaws 
Stern men to warmth of mirth, another draws 
From the most dull a tribute in a tear. 

But oh ! the countless hosts of men who knew 

Only the drudgery of night on night 

Playing their little moment generously 

Saw others pass them by while wearily 

Dream after dream slipped from their wistful sight- 

The many ladders for the fame of few ! 

52 



DOUBLE. 

WITHIN my being are two men : one, old, 
My spirit, and the other young, my flesh 
The ancient has absorbed what truths books hold, 
Stored in his mind their lore is ever fresh; 
The youngster cries for moons of his desire 
Nor brooks denial ; with mad energy 
He leaps at stars and falls into the mire 
And, in his fall, is lost. Audaciously 
He drinks too deep the wine of carnival 
And as he does so, guilefully his mate 
Poisons the potion: bitter as only gall 
The liquor burns the heart of him, too late 
To change his ways or ever seek to quell 
The sorry conflict that is each man s hell. 

(For Philip Leidy.) 



FELO DE SE. 

WHEN I consider how my life is bound 
Forever by Fatality s harsh chain, 
What petty joy and nugatory pain 
Confine me in the squalor of their round ; 
How utterly complacency has wound 
Its tendrils round my unresisting brain ; 
In what morass of sloth my soul has lain ; 
How my will s granite into dust is ground; 

I wonder how they fare : Egypt s proud queen 
Who fed the asps upon her delicate flesh, 
The pale-faced boy who in a garret mean 
Drank poison with the lips old song made fresh ; 
The captain, losing all on a far strand, 
Who vanquished Life with one blow of his hand. 

53 



LA DONNA. . . . 

YES, you are modern enough. You have the strong 
Self-conquered independence of our day, 
Few are the things you dare not do or say 
And nothing you may care to do is wrong 
But sometimes, like a half-forgotten song 
Whose notes on the dazed senses vaguely play, 
The wraith of some dead sprite of yesterday 
Takes hold on you and bears your heart along, 
Mingles and mixes with you, is yourself, 
Gives you the carefree air, the artless grace, 
The half-shy and half-wanton abandon 
Of a nymph dancing. . . . 

In my serious face 

You laugh . . . mock . . . beckon . . . O elusive elf, 
And madly I give chase. . . . And you are gone! 



INCHOATE. 

SPEECH is so old, 
Love is so rare 
Must I compare 
Your hair to gold ? 
What verse could hold 
Lights, like your hair 4 ? 
Oh, I despair 
Ever to mould 
Something that stands 
Like marble hewed 
And carved by hands 
Deft, for Love s duty; 
Song is too crude 
To speak your beauty. 



A VOIX-BASSE. 

EtE as the awaited storm-beleaguered ships, 
Reaching the end of their most perilous quest, 
Into the haven sail with many a chest 
Teeming with gold doubloons ; as the moon dips 
Her crescent whilst coquettishly she slips 
Into the clouds embrace to sleep at rest 
So have I found my peace upon your breast, 
My dear oblivion on your poppied lips. 

Lest Earth be plunged in darkness too profound 
Since your bright eyes were dimmed by shadowed sleep 
Ten thousand stars shine in the heaven above 
A brooding pain about my heart is wound 
Ah, lover let me weep the tears of love 
For I am young and it is good to weep ! 



ANALYSIS. 

BEING timid of Life, we must needs hide 
Behind the ambushed equivoke of speech, 
And the vague words we utter cannot reach 
That storm of wonder where our dreams would ride 
Had we but courage. Things we never tried 
Haunt us a moment, then are lost ; we teach 
Our reason strength in disappointment, each 
Holding he does not wish what is denied. 

If only we made circumstance, we two ! 

If only I would dare all without fear 

Of your misunderstanding, you would hear 

And hearing, know, and knowing, seize the gift 

That with shy, blundering hands daily I lift 

Poor fools undone by what we will not do ! 

55 



THE GIRL. 

THERE was in you a childlike wistfulness 
Lying heavy on the merest thing you did, 
And deep in your deep eyes seemed to be hid 
Vague longings that you never dared express. 
How frail you were, how clearly powerless ! 
And life ? A chest of gems whose heavy lid 
You could not lift alone ; therefore you bid 
Others to succor you in your distress. 

So others did those things that were your fear, 
Others accomplished deeds you held in scorn, 
Gladly they held your meed of pain in trust ; 
Life is a singing voice you never hear, 
A diadem you never will have worn, 
A glory you have forfeited for dust ! 



THE RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL. 

I TRIED to conjure up apt words to say, 
You must forget I was but late returned, 
I would act as I used to yesterday 
Try as I would I could not . . . 

And I learned 

How many sad things Time can thrust between 
Two people in a year, and how words said 
Cannot be changed, whatever they might mean, 
How there s no morrow for the Love that s dead. 

We scarcely spoke save to pass platitudes, 

You said : What weather ! Look, how the rain drips ! 

I struck conventional, dull attitudes 

(Before my misty eyes swam your red lips!) 

And coldly shook your hand like a chance friend, 

This was the irremediable end. 

56 



SEEKING AND FINDING NOT. 

MOST beautiful and best I said were you, 
Strange how I brought myself to think such lies ; 
There are on earth a thousand things I prize 
More dearly, being more noble and more true ; 
Dawn s paean ; Sunset s dirge ; meadows that dew 
Stirs to shy whispers ; lavish hills that rise 
Stark-bosomed to the vault of pearl-grey skies ; 
Warm rain of April ; moonlight bursting through 
Branches the breeze shakes. 

There is far more grace 
In the brave beauty of tall-masted ships 
Riding to sea than queenliest women find 
In stately movement. Nay I have been blind! 
And yet, the poignancy of your red lips ! 
The wonder of your pale remembered face! 



AT HER GRAVE. 

WEEP not ! Your tears 
Can bring no balm 
To one who hears 
Naught in the calm 
Of the deep grave 
Wherein she lies . . . 
Go hence ! Re brave ! 
Everything dies. 

The fairest flower 
Lives but a day, 
Love knows one hour 
Then ebbs away 
What man has power 
Death s hand to stay? 



57 



APOLOGIA PRO MORIBUS SUIS. 

YES, bitterly I criticise 
But am no cynic. For I heap 
Insult on all, that I may keep 
Sacred what I idealise. 
Too well I hold before my eyes 
The sad fruit sympathy would reap ; 
Therefore, my soul in scorn I steep, 
It is my way of being wise. 

Once, in my unregenerate days 
I might have walked those simple ways 
Which, selfishly, you would not share ; 
Now I have found in my own heart 
Treasures in which you have no part, 
So why need either of us care*? 



LINCOLN. 

(For a Head of Lincoln by Borglum.) 

I. 

THERE is no radiance gathered round his head, 
He is not clothed in flame nor shod with light, 
No great world cowers fearful in his sight, 
No giant empire trembles at the tread 
Of his triumphant feet; ungarlanded, 
Free from all sign of pomp however slight 
He looks on us from out the curious night 
That makes him one with the eternal dead, 
As who should look who lived his little span 
Of governed days; who knew deep joy; who gave 
The full possession of his work and dreams 
(Sometimes he looked almost grotesque, it seems,) 
So when he died they laid him in his grave 
A humble, somewhat melancholy man. 

II. 

The man was humble but of boundless pride, 

He never stooped to flattery, no art 

Of trickery was in his ways : his part 

Was to speak out his mind and ever abide 

By what he said ; he had no need to hide 

Behind the equivoke of speech, to dart 

Swift to advantage of deceit. His heart 

Was loyal to his people. He defied 

The people s foes, moved valiantly among 

Such men as strongly waged the people s fight 

Regardless of the bitter price to pay 

Our greatest homage to his name today 

Lies in the words : He read his people aright, 

He listened to their heart, he spoke their tongue ! 



III. 

Let but this land be suddenly plunged in gloom, 

After all things attempted are found vain, 

Out of the welter of folly, crime and pain, 

The last hope dead, the last word said, no room 

For aught but dark despair and bitter gloom, 

Then cry one name to rouse souls that have lain 

Dull from disuse, to arm weak hands, to train 

The rusted rifle on its mark, to boom 

Out of the cannon s mouth ; on bayonets 

To flash proud in the sunlit summer weather 

Across the tattered field like a white flame 

There is one name no countryman forgets. 

To rally all America together 

For the good fight, you need but cry one name. 



60 



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